Air Testing Tightness
Air permeability is a term that is used to define how well controlled the movement of air into and out of a building is.
Obviously if air is uncontrolled, then heat which you have generated is being lost. This costs you more money through excess energy usage & results in higher CO2 emissions.
Insulate right & build air-tight are two terms that consumers and builders alike are going to hear more often. Construction standards will allow for the better fitment of higher quality & more efficient insulation, coupled with closer attention to detail to close gaps in construction are being actively encouraged.
Many houses are being tested for air leakage and as of 1st July 2009, all new houses being built must have an air leakage report showing air permeability of the house. The result of this report is inputted into the BER calculation. A good result will have a significant positive effect on BER.
During the test, whilst the specialised software is generating a result and a report, leaks can be identified in the building fabric during a walk around with the client using a number of methods including smoke tests & thermal imaging.
When a house is being built ideally two tests will be done – Firstly during construction so that faults can be identified and cost effectively repaired, and secondly at the end of construction to get the final result for BER Certification.
Benefits of Air Pressure Tests in new and existing buildings
- Air pressure tests can be used to increase the energy efficiency of existing dwelling
- Air leakage testing helps identify areas of a building experiencing heat loss
- Air leakage testing helps minimise energy usage in a dwelling, hence reducing costs
- Air leakage testing plays a vital role in achieving an “A” rated cert for a dwelling
- Air pressure tests in conjunction with Thermal Imaging can locate the inefficiencies in your building
- Reduces Co2 emissions
What is airtightness?
Airtightness is about eliminating all unintended gaps and cracks, holes, splits and tears where air can move into and out of the ‘conditioned’ space (heated or cooled space) of the building.
Such gaps, cracks etc can account for up to 50pc of all heat losses through the external envelope of a building, and can be caused by poor build design, poor workmanship or the use of wrong or inappropriate materials. It is important to remember that an airtight building does not mean it is completely sealed, rather it means that unintended air leakage has been reduced to a minimum
Why airtightness is so important in construction?
Airtightness is important for avoiding heat loss as it means less uncontrolled air movement in and out of the building. Less heat loss also means your heating system will work more efficiently, thereby reducing heating bills and energy wastage. It also contributes to maintaining thermal comfort (ie. insulating better in winter and reducing overheating in the summer).
It can improve health by preventing substances that can provoke allergies being carried into the building via air leakage and can also result in better sound insulation within the home.
Building durability is also enhanced through airtightness by preventing damage caused by moisture-laden cold air leaking into the building envelope and condensing.
In conjunction with a properly designed ventilation system, airtightness will eliminate damp and mould growth in the building fabric and vastly improve indoor air quality.
And last but not least, achieving good airtightness necessitates a higher focus on build quality and quality workmanship, which in turn should mean fewer call backs.